New Cash May Make Wish The Next $1B Unicorn

Mere months after raising $50 million in financing, we’re hearing from multiple sources that the mobile and online shopping startup Wish is galloping towards “unicorn” status with talks to raise roughly $100 million at a valuation of around $1 billion.

Apparently, people like to shop on their mobile devices.

Just to refresh your memory, the San Francisco-based Wish was launched by former Google, Yahoo and Facebook employees¬†Peter Szulczewski and Danny Zhang. The company has a Pinterest-like interface, and uses algorithms and machine-learning technology to adapt to a user’s tastes in order to show them products they like.

While Pinterest began exploring how a user’s likes and interests can be programmed into a more personalized experience earlier this year and doesn’t really emphasize commerce, Wish is all about the art of the algorithmically enhanced sale.

Back in June when we wrote about their $50 million round, the company was reporting 31 million active users and a catalog from over 10,000 merchants using its platform to sell their wares. The company charges a 15% transaction fee on each sale.

That hefty user base (and the revenue they must bring in) is attractive enough to warrant attention from late stage investors like the Russian investment firm Digital Sky Technologies, according to our sources.

Data from App Annie has the Wish mobile app regularly placed in the Top 200 Overall on the iTunes App Store, and often in the top 10 or 20 in the Lifestyle section. On Android, it’s a top 10 shopping app, and also in the Top 200 Overall.

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As we noted¬†in April, Wish is focused more on the value shopper and on retailers from sites like Alibaba, allowing them to connect with a Western mobile audience. At that time, Szulczewski said that around half of Wish’s market was evenly divided between Europe and North America.

There are higher end mobile apps, like Spring , which are catering to the style-making elite. Wish, and its Asian counterpart Koudai are more focused on fast-fashion.

Wish’s last round valued the company at $400 million, The WSJ reports. The previous round was led by Founders Fund, with participation from existing investors Formation 8, GGV Capital, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, Jared Leto, and Legend Capital.

The blistering pace at which Wish’s wealth is accruing comes as some in the industry warn of a change in the weather for startups. Both Marc Andreessen and Bill Gurley have taken to social media (and print media) to sound the alarm over high burn rates and excessive risk-taking.